THE HOLY APOSTLE ONESIMUS

February 15

From the Prologue

Onesimus was one of the Seventy Lesser Apostles. He was a slave of Philemon but transgressed against his master and fled to Rome where he heard the Gospel from the Apostle Paul and was baptized. Since the Apostle Paul earlier converted Philemon to the True Faith, he reconciled the two of them, Philemon and Onesimus, master and slave, writing a special epistle to Philemon. It is one of the most emotional compositions which exists in Holy Scripture. "I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me" (Philemon 1:10,15,16). Moved by this letter Philemon, indeed, received Onesimus as a brother freeing him from slavery. Later, Onesimus was consecrated a bishop by the apostles themselves and accepted the episcopal throne at Ephesus following the Apostle Timothy. This is evident from the Epistle of Ignatius the God-bearer [Theophorus]. At the time of Trajan's persecution, Onesimus, already an old man, was arrested and brought to Rome. In Rome, Onesimus gave an accounting of himself before judge Tertycus, was imprisoned and finally beheaded. A wealthy woman removed his body, placed it in a silver arcophagus and buried it honorably in the year 109 A.D.





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